As many Americans continue to struggle with unemployment, the transgender community is being hit especially hard. CNNMoney recently spoke with six transgender people struggling in the economy.
“Rebecca Juro, 50, has been unemployed for the last four years and she can’t help but think it’s because she’s transgender. She has applied for almost 100 jobs and has gone on close to 20 interviews, but there have been no offers. No one says they aren’t hiring her because she’s transgender. But some employers tell her the job has been filled even though she continues to see postings for it online. Others have ‘laughed in my face.’”
More Light Churches are uniquely positioned to not only create a welcoming place for transgender people in their faith communities, but to also work with advocacy organizations on ending employment/housing discrimination impacting the trans community.
It’s hard to pin down a precise jobless rate since there’s so little transgender-specific data available. The most recent comprehensive study of more than 6,000 transgender individuals was released in 2011 by the National Center for Transgender Equality. This report found the transgender jobless rate to be 14% — double the national rate — and as high as 28% for black respondents..
Homelessness among this group is estimated to be double the national rate, according to the NCTE study. Respondents were also nearly four times more likely to have annual household incomes of less than $10,000, and 16% said they resorted to sex work or drug dealing for income — a percentage that nearly doubled for the unemployed and skyrocketed to 53% for black respondents…
But a federal law protecting transgender workers remains crucial to getting to the root of the unemployment problem, advocacy groups say. And there’s growing optimism it could happen, with state anti-discrimination laws that specifically protect transgender employees now covering 45% of the population — up from 5% about 10 years ago..
“Once [employers] are aware of what is prohibited, I think it will get rid of a lot of the barriers to transgender individuals having the right to earn a living and be part of the workforce,” said Nevins…
The CNNMoney series includes stories about the economic struggle of six transgender people from around the United States.
Welcoming Transgender People to Church
The insert in the recent More Light Update lists 10 ways to welcome transgender people to church. The insert can be downloaded and used as a tool at committee and session meetings to help lead your faith community forward in welcoming transgender people to church. Number 9 is, “Include the transgender community in your social justice work. Work with transgender advocacy organizations on hate crimes, changing gender “markers” on legal documents, and employment/housing discrimination.”